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Regular breadcrumbs work fairly well for baked dishes, and serve to give a nice crunchy topping to your dish. These are very easy to make on your own, and you don’t need to buy those fancy shmancy brands.

What you need:

  • Bread (stale is better, but fresh bread is also fine)

How do you make it:

If your bread is fresh, leave it out on the countertop for a couple of hours to let it dry out a little bit. You could skip this step if you don’t have the time, but I think it makes for better breadcrumbs.

Break the bread up into small pieces and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place into an oven and bake at 250 F for about an hour to 90 minutes. This step serves to remove all the moisture from the bread without actually browning it.

If you don’t have an oven, you can use a microwave oven. In this case, place the bread pieces on a microwave safe plate and zap on high for a minute at a time, and run it until the bread is hard and dry to the touch.

Let the bread pieces cool down before transferring them to a zip-top bag. Extract as much air as possible and close the zip all the way. Then you can go at it with a rolling pin until the bread pieces are all crumbs. Alternatively, you could use a food processor and pulse 2 to 3 times.

You can store the breadcrumbs in an air tight container for a couple of months.

Spice it up:

Once you have your plain breadcrumbs, you can spice them up any which way you like. I usually toss in a teaspoon of dried and crushed oregano leaves for every cup of breadcrumbs. You could also add garlic powder if you like. Play with the spices in your spice rack and adjust the quantities to taste.

Chef’s note:

These breadcrumbs are NOT the same as Panko or Japanese breadcrumbs. Panko is a lighter and flakier breadcrumb and is not easy to make at home, but is readily available in most Asian supermarkets. Most fried dishes use Panko as a breading, but it absorbs less grease than regular breadcrumbs and therefore results in a lighter dish. You could use regular breadcrumbs in a pinch, but it may be more greasy than intended.